[olug] Power Cost comparison on firewall boxes

Aric aric at omahax.com
Mon Aug 8 17:54:26 UTC 2011

He quoted commercial power prices so I assumed that wasn't going in a home.
The gigabit network card is probably pointless in an Atom based firewall
because the CPU isn't powerful enough, nay, smart enough to handle packet
filtering on much more than 100Mb, and less it using IPsec or Snort.

If you are trying to be green and want to conserve electricity get a solar
panel, they are down to about $2 a watt now......  
......If you want to use Al Gore logic, one could say that because energy is
never created nor destroyed converting solar energy to electricity instead
of heat helps prevents climate change.  

-----Original Message-----
From: olug-bounces at olug.org [mailto:olug-bounces at olug.org] On Behalf Of
Christopher Cashell
Sent: Sunday, August 07, 2011 7:43 PM
To: Omaha Linux User Group
Subject: Re: [olug] Power Cost comparison on firewall boxes

On Thu, Aug 4, 2011 at 2:09 AM, Aric <aric at omahax.com> wrote:
> IMO paying more money for a system designed to be used as a low end 
> user terminal for a firewall to save $35 a year in electricity 
> probably isn't worth it.

I would partially disagree with this, and say that it depends a lot on the
specific situation.  If you're concerned over $35/year, then this is
probably either for a home setup, home office, or for a pretty small
business where every dollar matters.  In situations like that, your internet
connection is probably going to be DSL or a business cable modem, you're
likely to have at most a few dozen computers using the connection, and
probably don't have a real data center to work from, but at best, a wiring
closet or a small "server room" (probably a big closet).

In this situation, loss of Internet access for a few minutes probably isn't
the end of the world, and guaranteed uptime probably isn't a top concern.
The added reliability of server class hardware and dual power supplies may
not be important enough to make up for the increased power draw and (may or
may not be a factor) the significantly increased noise.  If there isn't a
dedicated room/data center for this hardware, rackmount servers are very

Additionally, if you booted and ran from a USB flash drive, you would remove
one of the two primary failure points (and moving parts), in the hard drive
(the other being the power supply).  Or, for maximum security, drop a CD
drive in there and boot (and run) from CD (guaranteed read-only filesystem).

I am curious at the potential need for a Gigabit network card, though.
 If this is a firewall, and $35/year in power is a purchase concern, I'm
having trouble coming up with any scenario where your internet connection
would exceed 100Mbit. ;-)

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